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tv   Nicholas Schmidle Test Gods  CSPAN  July 8, 2021 7:00am-8:03am EDT

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founded in the aftermath of the assassination of abraham lincoln, but it wasn't until the death of john f. kennedy, in that the presidential protective service began to get closer attentionthe from the people. attention from the people p. in the prologue of the new book, "zero fail," she writes that she started her coverage on the scandal in which agents brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms while making arrangements for president obama to visit cartagena, colombia. >> carol leonnig on this episode of "book notes plus." listen wherever you get your podcasts. up next, nick if las
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schmidting on the -- nicholas schmidting. this is hosted by romans bookstore in pasadena if, california. >> hi there, everyone. my name is max, and i'd like to thank you all for tuning in tonight with us. we're luckily to have nicholas schmidting -- schmidle. it does include a q&a portion, so if you'd like to ask a question request at any point, push the ask the question button at the bottom x if you'd like to purchase a book -- [inaudible] i'll go ahead and let them take over. thank you both so much. >> thank you. >> s thanks. >> nick, greetings from whatever this is, the screen. for those who are listening, nick is calling in from london, so it's 2:00 in the morning, is that correct? >> that is, yeah, exactly. [laughter] >> if he doesn't make sense, we
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will forgive him. i have read this book are from beginning to end, "it's -- test gods." there's so many moves to it. it's a swashbuckling story. it's a story of excitement, it's a story of speed. it's the story of richard branson who's one of the greatest personalities we know of. it's the story of nick's father and a very, very complex relationship. i got to know nick in 2011 when he wrote -- you know, i read the new yorker, and because uma journalist, i get envious. he did this incredible reconstruction of the bun laden raid -- bin laden raid. the detail was incredible. he was teaching at princeton, and he sent me a copy of the book. h i get a lot of requests for blurbs.
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normally when i do them, i read, i don't know, ten pages, fifteen pages, twenty pages. this i read -- i couldn't stop reading it. i just found it beautifully written, computing, much like the right stuff but in a different era on, you know, the speed of branson and virgin grabbing tuck and the future of -- grabbing tuck9 and the future of space and space travel. so, nick, what sparked your interest in this? i know you were at the new york ther at the time, was it 2014, is that right? it's truly an hone in conversation and with our lifetime hero of mine when i started reading one of the pivotal books in my decade was started at five. when i thought about this
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project from the beginning it was how do i take the subject matter and approach it like friday night lights? and that really started in 2014 which is a critical and pivotal moment for me on halloween 2014, virgin galactic was find a supersonic test flight and this spaceship just to show real quick on the cover, they have a very unique airlines system which uses a wide wing mothership to carry this spaceship aloft to 45000 feet much like the explains. at that point, the mothership drops and pulls away and the
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two tech pilots inside the spaceship which is also distinguished from the other primary rocket companies which are mostly automated and vertically launched, they like the rocket it flies horizontally and then enters a steep near vertical ascent. so on this particular morning in october 2014, the copilot ignites the rocket and seconds into the flight commits an unthinkable error. essentially pulls the emergency brake on the highway. >> how fast was a going at that point quick. >> .eight mock almost approaching mock one. at mach one on either side of that is when they called the transonic sewn - - zone like
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this airspeed it is a crazy moment on either side of mock one in which unexpected and narrow predictable aerodynamic forces exert themselves on the vehicle so spaceshiptwo has a unique feature where the tailbone rotates up and the reason for this is that upon reentry they needed to figure out a way to have careful controlled reentry and the idea imagine a 30 of that fold up like a taco and then it would float down like a shuttlecock. they said under no circumstances unlock that feather but for some reason
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the copilot did that. the aerodynamic forces shredded the vehicle apart in midair. >> the pilot and copilot died. >> the copilot was killed. the pilot miraculously survived. there is no ejection seat. somehow he wiggled out of his seat and pulled the parachute, landed in the middle of the desert and survived. i remember getting the news alert that they on my phone and after reading the first paragraph wanting to stop because there were so many built-in assumptions in that article. richard branson company crashes in the desert. weight. there is a british billionaire who owns a spaceship company
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with a winged spaceship flying with test pilots flying supersonic and crash? the stakes seemed unmistakably high that that was the moment for me i went to my editor at the new yorker and said we have to write about this. this is insane. and the question was it sounds cool but can we get real access? so then my next trip was to go out to california to talk to then vice president of the company to figure out if i could get real access and how i could embed with them. >> i'm always curious about that. how did that conversation go? access is a double edged sword. they were they reluctant or excited or did they want assurances from you?
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then there goes a great idea how did this conversation go how much work did it take? >> it was a little bit of work. they were surprised on - - surprisingly receptive because one of which they had come off of this horrific crash. i said i wanted to get in there when emotions were raw and watch them work and watch them build a new vehicle from scratch. and at that point the company's pr primarily had been focused on the glitz and the glamour of this five-star experience they were offering. most of that is driven by the commercial office in london.
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and mike moses, now president of the company former vice president sought as an opportunity to tell the story of the men and women out there turning the wrenches flying the ship. so he was surprisingly receptive to the idea. but the other piece is that the public affairs woman at the time was a huge fan and i told her i into right friday night lights. [laughter] so that also help me get me across the finish line. but there was one other piece at that point the pilot pool this five people one of the pilots had flew with my dad i knew 30 years ago. i had not seen them in 25 years. but when i found out he worked
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at virgin galactic i met with him and i gave him my spiel how i work and how i would do this and how they new yorker fact checking apparatus he said we've had a lot of stuff written about us and so much of it is false. so he went to mike moses and said i don't own it personally. but if we let someone in, at least it comes from decent stock. >> your father was the original maverick? [laughter] he was a kick ass pilot for the marines. >> he was. he was. at the time was a three-star marine general in charge of all aviation for the marine corps. interestingly the three stars
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was that at his age still in his early sixties at that point and was still flying single speed fighter jets. so yes. he was a legend in the marine corps got one of the very few distinguished flying crosses permission the goal for for this incredibly ball the mission in bosnia 1994 so he is a legend in the marine corps. >> by the way there are so many components to this book but one of the things i like about it is it is fascinating and i have no engineering background but how they put this machine together what
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works and what doesn't but another component is a very complex relationship which is ironic to your dad and for those out there who have not read the book and i hope you buy it, but then you crash the porch on - - the portion a ditch. >> [laughter] when the fact checker ran this he said i have no recollection of that. that was my sophomore year of high school. i had to figure out a way to get the repairs done there was a tailor in the radiator we had to get repaired by the time he got home. >> do you fly quick. >> i don't. >> your dad is one of the
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greatest pilots in the history of the marine corps, he loves to fly you like fine because you're doing the book, was that rebellion? i don't want to follow in his footsteps? i think he went to afghanistan and pakistan and was out there in the mountains you are trying to get into the pakistani taliban and why not? >> i don't know it just never quite sunk in. and i realize one of the things i realized in the process of writing this book that i wasn't really interested in it because of flight or aviation but because i was interested in the aviators. and that is i think even now at one point i started to go
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out to california for the book one of the pilots said you are out here all the time there's an opportunity for you to get your pilots license. i thought about it and then for some reason i can't explain it but it doesn't resonate with me i flew with the pilots from virgin galactic and then they come down i say that is cool. but in help me understand the experience to write about it better but not something that animated me. and in some ways too many people as inexplicable as making this crazy mistake but one cannot understand how someone who grew up in my household could not love aviation want to fly. >> was at every determined why
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he did that? >> no. i remember reading that thinking this makes no sense as a type of mistake i would make. but did anyone ever determine? >> there was an extensive review by the ntsb investigation. the conclusion at the end no one knows. they spoke to his wife they tried to figure out if he was tired or distracted but the workload during that boost portion is extraordinarily high. even with a test pilot community there is a high degree of respect because in those 60 seconds there is so much to pay attention to that
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margin of error is so thin. >> that very little is automated. that is interesting. >> it's like a paper card with a rocket motor shoved in the back as a piloting experience, there is nothing like flying spaceshiptwo. nothing is comparable. but it does raise questions about the viability of the business. >> i'm curious about that and one thing i want to mention to the viewers what is cool about the book is he is telling a story. here is a company run by a very flamboyant individual richard branson with virgin airlines and many other things. he will establish a face court one - - a space core but he does it and then there is a
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horrific crash and it's the story of a company trying to recover from that crash and see if they can build the perfect spaceship but before we talk about branson, tell me about the protagonist, how did you get to him? i think he knew of your father? >> yes. when i got out to mojave, i was looking for someone who can help me tell the story. once i realized i would get this unique access and how a string that together in a compelling way. and he had flown the first three power plays but not the fourth i later found out that fourth flight the pilot who made the error and died was his best friend so immediately i thought there is a super
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compelling storyline so i met mark and he told me he had been chasing the astronaut dream his whole life at age four he watched john glenn take his maiden flight he tells us that that's what i want to do and become an astronaut. most fathers would humor their children and say anything you want. but then he tells his son no way no son of his will ever become an astronaut because they come from military and no son of his will ever serve in the military. >> i forgot about all that. >> so all good rebellious teenagers goes and joins the marine corps then joins nasa and the air force chasing the
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astronaut dream before he gets to the company that's contracted to build the spaceship for virgin galactic. so when i first met him we sat down at a pub near his house and i explained to him that i saw him as a character. immediately to me he felt recognizable like we could talk about this later about what qualities i saw of my father in him but interestingly i didn't know this at the time but he also knew my dad. my dad was his flight restructure and human arizona and he said you remind me of somebody else in a new your dad so we are often asked as journalist why we pick a topic and why we are ready to stick
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with something for five or six years. and write a book about it one of the interesting revelations was that we are not the only ones taking sometimes we come to a subject and sometimes the subject comes to us that he lived a phenomenal life and to help tell that story. and i arrived at just the right time and since we had become really good friends. he has read the book. host: what did he think? you went pretty deep with him. >> after the new yorker piece which was raw some people said to him what are you thinking? are you still cooperating with this guy? but i think he felt like i was
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fair and i understood him and all of the personal stuff about his broken marriage and failed relationship with his kids. host: that was wrenching and a great part of the book. >> thank you. host: that is personal and you guide deep within and once again readers, the back story what he went through in his marriage and really with his kids is poignant isn't the right word but very deep. and it shows his flaws and those are much more interesting than perfection. >> thank you and the notion of the modern astronaut and that is the commercial space
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industry but every other portrait of an astronaut is the set job perfect complexion and character. >> like the john glenn stereotype. >> totally and here he was willing to own up to all of these political fallibility's and let this reporter rummage around in his e-mail looking for salacious details. and i told him. and has nothing to do with the company. if you don't let me see the moments of tragedy and the difficulties than the moment of triumph at the end for you personally and for the company will not have the same pay off. there were times where people tried to tell me a leaving or
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them a meeting or something was happening that was sensitive i said these are the moments that will reveal that big moment in the end when you fly to space and that's the same argument i made to mark throughout. so you let someone into the difficulties than it makes the success at the end much more clear. host: how did mark remind you, let's talk about your dad. were you intimidated? i know he was away and deployed a lot did you know him that well? >> that's a great question. intimidated? he was emotionally distant but a powering figure. and were not talking push-ups every morning.
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my dad's intensity came from the fact that he always wanted to do things differently and more intense. it wasn't just hunting but hunting wild boar's and hunting with a bow and arrow not just a regular bow and arrow but a long bow with arrows that he flashed in our garage with a 357 magnum strapped to his leg in case they charged. that is how he hunted. [laughter] host: not a saturday afternoon but do want to go hunting with me this weekend? sure. 3:00 o'clock in the morning with the hour-long drive that we toe the bow in get out and then drive to the martian the dark for an hour then you pull
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into the marsh and get out and we stopped to the mud. when you are near 14 you think this sucks. it's way too early. host: for those who don't know when you were beginning to be a reporter you did some really hair-raising stuff. you were challenging life in your own right so it seems in a different way. >> if i met him i would be scared. [laughter] >> he did not exude warmth but my mom is the heartbeat of the family and what i tried to
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reconcile my dad always said that expectation for us. as i'm writing this i look at my relationship with my kids and i think i am much more available i am much more present but am i studying? how do you do the both? and also being this towering figure that you constantly strive to impress? so i know when mark described his relationship with his son i saw it both ways and how difficult it was for his son.
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i also sympathized with mark when he said we are estranged. he doesn't talk to me. at that point i have a six-year-old and a three -year-old i thought are you kidding me cracks i could never. this is gut wrenching. so yes. it is tough. my dad is incredibly inspiring. constantly wanting to live up to his expectations. and there is no part of it i most appreciate the relationship more now than i did then. >> were you all over the place? >> because of where the bases are we had three tours there for ten years total and yuma
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arizona which is often the middle of nowhere. and then between quantico and the pentagon those of the areas that ie will bounce between. >> let's talk about branson. at the beginning, i guess as the project went on then you realize branson is serious. he sees this as the next frontier. personally i know he spent billions of dollars but these are very hard charging guys that like the future like elon musk. but what was your sense of branson?
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publicity? i want to do something different or how dedicated was he quick. >> i think he was very dedicated. >> surprisingly frankly. >> here is the reason why. it's important to go back and realize the centrality of this boutique aviation firm the first built spaceship two and one. it explains why mike made that mistake in 2014 and why there were not all these failed states built into the spaceship so we remind in 1996 there is a contest the first private leave built spacecraft to reach space twice in two weeks. so in 2000 for the contest is about to expire and here comes a small aviation firm they
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build spaceship one smaller version of spaceship to and use the unique airlines configuration it goes to space three times that year to make the two qualifying spaceflights in two weeks. so they have proven you can do this branson comes around and says all but a million dollars to the project in the end and puts the virgin logo on the side of spaceshipone and earns the right to commission to build a composite of a bigger version. it didn't seem like a lark maybe it was but now that it has done this they could do anything. they had crazy offers from people coming in they had just proven everyone wrong.
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so this is the central challenge so what they did and have done anyone with the space museum because the head of scaled composites has more design than any. >> and these are remarkable characters. >> that their whole thing is building prototypes so they'll put a lot of fail space into their vehicles. so now you have this company who tries to build a certifiable safe tourism vehicle. you can see that's a recipe for disaster in some ways. they don't build redundancies if they need to be there but if it doesn't need to be there they don't put it in there. then virgin galactic comes
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along they have lawyers and all these people are worried if it will be safe and these two companies while they work together it's far from seamless so the clash between those two i found fascinating as well so branson has good reason to believe and it's hard to know where his head is now. recently he sold off $150 million worth of personal stock shares in virgin galactic. and virgin galactic it is hard to say they have more money now than ever they were publicly are in a half ago. but before they went public they have 80 million in cash reserves in their account and spending $20 million a month so money was going to become
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an issue very quickly. they went public now they spend 25 million a month but they have $660 million in cash. they have a long road to continue to figure this out but the fact that branson pulled his money out or a large chunk raises questions where his head is with the viability of the whole venture. host: is a viable? we were reading about elon musk. is it a viable concept? i know getting people to pay the entrance fee that can it work? >> i think it could work for elon musk and space x i think it is doable. the challenge with virgin galactic is the configuration leaves it exposed.
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because you have the man in the loop which as the 2004 accident shows the most extremely well qualified and trained pilots and sometimes they still have bad days. and also this is an airplane company building a spaceship. this is not the spaceship company that composite was the dna in the virgin galactic dna is the aircraft company. the vertical takeoff and launch approach with the main competitor and space x just seems to have more long-term viability. that i think will be the way i
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would wipe off virgin galactic totally, that their prognosis of where they will be in a few years is still infused with imaginative thinking they only have one mothership in fact goes down during any period of time than they are screwed. that is the top view of the viability in the coming years. host: we are certainly open to questions. a few people have commented i was getting access to get virgin galactic and joe was a sign of mennonite pastor that he did not join the military.
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you do this book when you set out to do the new yorker piece we are anticipating a book? or did it grow into a book? >> i knew after the first couple of trips out there the access that i had and that they were letting me sit in and record these meetings and the granularity in detail and the scale and ambition of what they were trying to do felt relatively soon there was a book potential. but it took a while just to figure out what the story was. the first couple of versions there were just too many characters it was too flat i couldn't figure out the arc. it took me a while to whittle out what wasn't mark and then what enhances his peace what enhances the story and then
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when i come back for the book , you mentioned earlier wasn't just one episode after another. it was helpful to have his story to figure out what feeds into it and what do you need to know with history and back story to further understand his story? think that's the in our ministry at writing fiction that i grapple with every book how you balance the character with the spokes it is like a bicycle wheel with the hub in the spokes but then they get in the way of the narrative? do they slow it down? but on the other hand books are wonderful because they have context so i felt that you pulled that off nicely and really well.
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so this is in the afterword. i was curious emotionally they go for the access and 2014 and 2018 mark moses who is now the president. >> mike moses. host: was that in response to the new yorker piece with a trying to hide something? you are there for four years. what happened? >> the idea is i would stick with them until they flew the fifth the first rocket powered flight after they built the new spaceship. i knew something was different that would affect the relationship there were some critical junctures on the morning of that flight april 2018 at that point i had not been denied access are
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told they could not come into a single meeting. i would ask they would say sure. one occasion they were talking about a manpower human resources and said you can listen for context but this is the only meeting you cannot record. that flight happened i was barred injury it was a guy name stephen and borrow. he is i think employee number one. host: what does that mean? [laughter] he came up with this idea he is the guy who would sell the tickets and market the company and focus on the customer
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experience. he is the guy all the glitz and glamour and this is what he was selling. i know he did not like the fact i was embedded and he was very controlling of the pr narrative he wanted to be focused on the sponsorship deals with land rover and grey goose now there is a reporter running around what do we do with this guy? so this piece comes out august 18 and mike moses said to me on a monday and the thursday i called and said i have a book deal i'm ready to get back in and moses said give me a week i need to work out some diplomatic things some people thought the magazine piece made it sound dangerous. i saved you have three engineers with a 2007 accident
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and your test pilot was killed i don't make it sound dangerous. [laughter] so then he became for a fight for the soul of the company where i am in one year to say i will tell the story. i knew that richard like the magazine he e-mailed me and said to me he was reluctant to do this he didn't want to see this the appreciate the time and the effort and we saw there was an opportunity for me to keep doing what i wanted to do again in december of 18 he reiterated that but they kept just dragging their feet and talking about deals or other books they were just
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making up these things to prevent me from being in. the real critical moment i had this one-on-one relationship with branson. without telling when else at the company invited me down to the british virgin islands to spend a couple of days talking about the company. two days before i was set to leave i never should've mentioned this but i let it slip to the pr guy was down to the british virgin islands now all the alarms were going off and attenborough said richard won't do this but you can't come. so asking how i felt, i remember being really scared i could not pull this off. i remember having this conversation with my dad that night. he said you have a book to write. that is the priority.
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i knew i had what i needed at that point. i had mark in space and virgin galactic flying the first non- test pilot and those two special flights in december of 18 and february of 19. in some ways it was a blessing in disguise because it gave me some distance. i have my material now i can write about this soberly and realistically am no longer fighting for access. in some ways it was the best thing that could've happened but. host: access for writers is a double edged sword because you deliver on - - develop a relationship you have to be able to step back and look at it with sober eyes that is tricky so it was probably good. and then you get addicted to access as well i did not think
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about that so when they cut it off that does enable you to step back. >> so how does writing this book affect your own life? you made 14 or 15 trips to mojave and the relationship with the book characters and those in your own sphere? some people talking to you and some people not? how did mark feel? you put him out there. >> i know because i told him over the course of the writing i felt that our relationship was different it wasn't the traditional journalist source relationship and subject it transcended the normal boundaries. there was a moment that brought this to life when he flew to space for the first
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time in 2018 and watching his wife gave him hugs and i was behind his son and i said was the right thing for me to do? a reporter reaches out his hand to say nice job but a friend gives a bearhug. i reach out and gave him a handshake and it just felt weird and sterile and then i gave him a hug. he is more of that and he is a friend it is a unique relationship when you have a friend who you write about who knows you are going to write things that are not complementary. not damaging it was not out to damaging but things do not make him look great but he was
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okay with it. he knew i was talking to his ex-wife and it would not make him look great. host: but he knew that. i asked him for access to everyone even family members and he was cooperative to the end. he has read the book. the only time he has been reserved, he said it's hard for me to comment because it's all about me but people have written to him very competent entry things and said with you being willing to cooperate gives me a whole new inside of who you are. he shared that with me. i think he's pleased with the way it turned out. host: what is he doing now? >> he still at virgin galactic waiting to fly the next rocketship flight sometime next month.
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host: any regrets about the book that you would have done differently? i think as a former student that really save your ass in a lot of places to become a very good reader. with your first draft you read it and we all read the first draft and then the fear begins to set in what was the problem? too much over the map? too many characters the narrative wasn't driving? what were the problems? >> the hardest part was writing about my dad. because the back third of the book was them charging the space came really easy because it was a combination of natural action and a lot of access and a lot of
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documentary materials to put together spaceflight with granular details the middle third was my concern people talk about the saggy middle how do you maintain that attention? and then a former student of mine in princeton she read various versions of that onset i have 12 pages too much of stuff about your dad or 12 pages too much that it is so clear you're trying to figure out what it is you want to say. that's what it was. i knew my dad was central to me telling the story and why. what had drawn me to the story, but i was always worried it would feel
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extraneous. i needed to figure out how to make it seem organic and natural and she helped me do that. host: it gave the book a special personal dimension. it is a narrative issue. did you ever think about getting rid of it? >> i did. host: it gave the book dimension something went to the core of your soul that i thought was cool. >> thank you. yes. oil me thought about doing it initially when i thought it didn't come to me until i started to write the book itself i have a parenthetical about my dad may be eight words and the magazine piece but i knew in the book i wanted to blow it out bigger but i wasn't sure how to do it but my editor held my hand and
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said it may be that sentence was a bit much for those sections digressed too far from the central storyline. can you tie him back? you go on a digression of the values that you inherited can you bring the story back? so those narrative reminders along the way was helpful. she was a student of mine i imparted all of these values that i have learned over the years. then in some ways held up a mirror and said don't forget this is what you told us. giving me a taste of my own medicine. i cannot imagine doing the book without her. host: how long did it take you to write? you are living at four or five years. >> two years more or less.
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august of 18 through august of 20 i was nonstop that doing a couple of other things along the way then when the pandemic it, i was probably one third of the way into writing and then i have the next seven months of having nothing else to do so that let me. i'm not sure if i had allotted myself enough time post quarantine for the writing. host: i am curious, how high do they go up and what is the top speed? >> this is the subject of some controversy because most of the world defines space as
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100 kilometers and 328,000 feet. virgin galactic is using the us air force definition of space which is 264,000 feet. if you look at the pictures of them looking down on the earth, stuff floating, it is space. they are going almost mock three. host: miles per hour? >> always want to try aground this i always come back and say give me some real numbers how fast. mock one is 700 miles an hour. but as you go higher it is burying because out the two and airspeed this is regular
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into very uncomfortable territory. host: 2000? is that close? >> yes. i think that's fair. and then what was described i remember that night at space x what did that feel like? and he said he never felt more sure of anything in his life at that point going almost t14 three that you rumble through this thick air and then you get into thin air the rocket motor is burning full going three times the speed of sound and it felt like a thoroughbred like she wanted to run and run and you could hear the excitement in his voice. i spent that evening with him drinking whiskey at his house.
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so he spent a couple of years at the air force the area 51 and this was one of the more challenging parts to report because he was so cagey talking about the details. that night of the spaceflight, he said i have this bottle of whiskey. i've been saving it for a special moment that his wife cheryl had bought for him and he comes back with shot glasses each of them are with us squadrons. so just giving these knowing smirks that i have read a little bit about this one and what are they doing? i will go to jail for this project. so he takes about a live
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whiskey he said let's take a shot. i don't drink whiskey i haven't drank it since college so trying to sip whiskey out of shot glasses so i take a shot and he looks at me i could not tell if he was offended or impressed and said i thought we were going to sip it i looked at up and it was a 600-dollar bottle of whiskey. [laughter] so the night of his crowning achievement me and his wife sitting at the kitchen island table talking about the day. >> it was very unique and memorable relationship. >> how high did you get? >> they had a little acrobatic trainer aircraft that builds
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up the g tolerance they go up and do some spends they took me up i went flying with them four times. it kicked my ass. and it made me think i would vomit. we only went 10000 feet high. then they intentionally stalled the aircraft and spin upside down any thank you will crash it's like going to the gym. it is what they do. host: did you vomit? >> no. but i was very close the first few times extraordinarily close i had my vomit bag under my leg reaching for at a moments notice but i managed to pull myself together. host: we are about out of time i went to read what i wrote because i mean it.
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it's hard to know where to begin with this unique fascinating brilliantly reported unprecedented access to that kick ass adventure story to the squat swashbucklers those addicted to speed and altitude a journey unlike any i have ever read postdating as is poignant and personal let me for a man routinely risking his life 50 miles above the clouds what does he leave behind? cosmic questions answered with elegance and beauty strap yourselves in and get ready for one hell of a ride. i meant every word. i do this very rarely so we're just about out of time so full, please get the book read it for yourself and everything i said i really mean it. great job. what he working on now? are you back at the new
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yorker? >> and trying to figure out what i want to do now. after you finish a book project like this i went to sleep and get back to work and trying to figure out what will scratch the itch. [laughter] >> you don't need to sleep you have been through one helluva process. small pleasures. you will know in a few months you will feel a it's about getting the right story. brooks take a lot out of me is this your first book? >> second book i wrote a book about pakistan. >> this is far more personal. >> you will know it will come across your desk it will be sure and three paragraphs and you have the instinct to know this is a book and then let it sit then you hope it's a book a month later than it is
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because you are a pro you are talented. from of you listening thanks a lot, get some sleep it is now 3:00 a.m. and london i'm on the west coast it is very boring 7:00 p. >> weekends on c-span2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday american history tv documents america's stories. on sundays booktv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors. funding for c-span2 comes from these television companies and more including mediacom. >> the world changed in an instant button bv, was ready internet traffic soared and we never slow down. schools and businesses with virtual and we powered a new reality because at mediacom we are built to keep you ahead.
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>> mediacom along with these television companies support c-span2 as a public service. >> tonight on booktv technology and e-commerce. >> booktv is tonight starting at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> secret service was founded in aftermath of the assassination of abraham lincoln but it wasn't till the death of john f kennedy that the presidential protection service began to get closer attention from the american people. in the prologue of her new book, zero fail, she writes she
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started her coverage on the scandal of which agents brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms on making arrangements for president obama to visit cartagena columbia. we talked with her about her in-depth look in her new book subtitled the rise and fall of the secret service. >> listen at or whatever you get your podcasts. >> author eric berger look at the group of entrepreneurs elon musk in the history of his rocket company spacex in his new book "liftoff." the blue willow bookshop in houston hosted this event. >> welcome everyone. my name is valerie koehler and on the owner of the willow bookshop in houston, texas. i know we people joining from all over thejo country and possibly even be on the world. i am thrilled to make to be here


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